Warning Signs: The Truth About The Death of Sandra Bland


On July 13, 2015, Sandra Bland was found hanged.  She was an inmate in the Waller County (Texas) jail.  Her death sparked nationwide outrage and demonstrations.  “Social justice” activists rushed to exploit her arrest, and subsequent death, as another instance of racial profiling and “police brutality.”  The media projected the narrative that the death of Sandra Bland was yet another example of police violence against Blacks.  The heated rhetoric, baseless accusations, and racially-charged narrative are one thing.  

The facts in the case of Sandra Bland tell another story.  The inescapable fact is that Sandra Bland suffered from depression.  She openly and honestly discussed her depression in a YouTube video. 

The Traffic Stop

On July 10, 2015, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia, 30, observed a vehicle make an illegal lane change on University Drive in Prairie View, Texas. 

“The traffic stop that led to her arrest occurred only a few hundred yards from the university’s main entrance.” [4]

The driver, and lone occupant, of the vehicle, was Sandra Bland.  Trooper Encinia approached the vehicle and spoke to Bland.  He explained the reason he stopped her.  He returned to his police vehicle and wrote out a simple traffic warning.  Sandra Bland refused to sign the document.  She questioned the reason for the traffic stop.  She challenged the trooper’s authority.  Their conversation became heated.   Bland refused to cooperate.  Again, Trooper Encinia had issued  Bland a warning.  She could have simply signed it and been on her way. Trooper Encinia asked Bland to put out the cigarette she was smoking.  She refused. 

“Why do I have to put out a cigarette when I’m in my own car?”

Trooper Encinia ordered Bland to exit her vehicle.  Again, she refused to comply.  Trooper Encinia informed Bland that she was under arrest.  Trooper Encinia deployed his Taser and ordered Bland, for the twelfth time, to exit the vehicle.  She got out.  Trooper Encinia attempted to place Sandra Bland in handcuffs.  Bland resisted.   Due to her size and strength, Trooper Encinia was unable to get Bland under control.  Sandra Bland was 5’ 10” tall and weighed 164 pounds.  The trooper called for assistance.  A short time later an African-American female officer with Prairie View A & M Police arrived on the scene.  The two officers were able to finally place Sandra Bland under arrest.  Sandra Bland was placed in the police car belonging to the Prairie View A & M office who transported her to the Waller County jail in Hempstead, Texas.  Sandra Bland was booked into the jail on the charge of

“Assault On A Public Servant.” 

Criticism was leveled at Trooper Encinia for being verbally combative with Sandra Bland.  When Sandra Bland refused to exit the vehicle, Trooper Encinia stated,

“I’m going to yank you out.” 

After deploying his Taser, Trooper Encinia shouted

“Get out of the car,”

he then shouted.

“I will light you up. Get out. Now.” 

Newly released video from Sandra Bland’s own mobile phone capture a portion of the incident.

Conflict resolution experts believe that, while the traffic stop was legal, the trooper’s demeanor contributed to the escalation of the situation.[4]

Racial “activists” immediately sought to characterize Sandra Bland’s arrest itself as another instance of “racial profiling.”  There is no evidence that Trooper Encinia, who is Hispanic, initiated the traffic stop because of Sandra Bland as African-American.  Research indicates that, contrary to media hype, Blacks ARE NOT pulled over more than Whites. [3] The reason for the initial traffic stop, Bland’s illegal lane change, has never been invalidated.  Trooper Encinia’s instruction to Bland to put out her cigarette was reasonable under the circumstances and lawful.  Trooper Encinia’s order to Bland to exit her vehicle, once again, was perfectly legal and well within his authority.   Sandra Bland’s refusal to obey the Trooper’s instructions and orders was illegal.  

Trooper Encinia was later indicted by a Grand Jury for perjury.  The indictment stemmed from a single statement he made in his report.  His indictment had nothing to do with events at the jail or Sandra Bland’s death.  His indictment came AFTER a Grand Jury found no criminal culpability in Sandra Bland’s death. 

The record shows that Sandra Bland’s encounter with Trooper Encinia was not her first brush with the law.  Far from it.  Bland had at least ten (10) encounters with law enforcement in Illinois and Texas prior to her arrest by Trooper Encinia.  An investigation by NBC5 (Chicago) revealed, at the time of her arrest by Trooper Encina,

“…[Bland] still owed a total of $7,579.00 in court fines resulting from five traffic stops in various Chicago suburbs (including a DUI)…” [1]

Other instances include:
March 2013 – Sandra Bland was stopped in Crestwood Township, [Illinois]. She was cited for

“speeding 21-25 mph above the limit, and for operating an uninsured motor vehicle.“

Cook County Court records indicate that she was fined $200.  The fine was never paid.

November 2013 – Bland was arrested in Naperville on an outstanding warrant and transported to the DuPage County jail.

February 2014 – Sandra Bland was stopped by Lombard Police.  She was charged with

“operating an uninsured motor vehicle and driving with expired license plates.” 

She as fined $2,940 after being convicted on the two traffic offenses.  The fines were not paid.

March 2014 – Naperville Police cited Bland for

“operating an uninsured motor vehicle.” 

Bland was cited twice for failure to pay. 

March 2014 – About five(5) days after being stopped by Naperville Police, Bland was again stopped by Lombard Police.  She was charged with:
    driving under the influence;
    speeding 15-20 mph over the speed limit;
    improper lane usage;
    disobeying a traffic control signal;
    failing to signal when changing lanes;
    driving on a suspended license,
    and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. 

Bland was found guilty of DUI.  The other charges were dismissed.  She was placed on court supervision and fined.  Her Driver’s License was suspended for six (6) months.  During that suspension and court supervision period, Bland was pulled over and cited for speeding.  Her fines in this case were not paid.

Further inquiry shows that from 2004 to 2010, Sandra Bland had other encounters, and in some cases arrests, with jurisdictions including Harris County, Texas, and two other Illinois cities.  In one Harris County case, Bland was cited for Driving While Intoxicated and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.  In another Bland was cited for

“possession of drug paraphernalia.” 

This case was dismissed.  

In Elmhurst, Illinois Bland plead guilty to

“retail theft of less than $150”

for which she was fined and placed on supervision.  [1]

The Jail

Sandra Bland was booked into the Waller County Jail on the charge of Assault on a Police Officer.  Her bond was set at $5000.  The sum of $500 would have been enough to secure her release.  For whatever reason, neither Bland’s friends, family, or fans were able to procure the funds needed to bond her out.  At the time she arrived at the Waller County Jail, Sandra Bland still owed several thousand dollars in unpaid fines.  In some jurisdictions, this may have resulted in a detainer or hold being placed on the inmate.  In Bland’s case, Waller County authorities indicate that there was no such hold or detainer on Sandra Bland from any other jurisdiction.  

Sandra Bland made numerous phone calls from jail to a man described as her live-in boyfriend.  Official documents state that he


her calls.  

During the intake process Sandra Bland, as with all inmates, was asked if she had ever attempted suicide.  Her answer was


She was asked why she had attempted suicide.  Her answer was


Finally, the intake questionnaire asked the method used during the suicide attempt.  Sandra Bland answered,


During the intake process,

“Ms. Bland had told two jail intake workers on July 10 that she had tried last year to kill herself after losing a baby…” [2]

During the intake process, Bland was asked if she had suffered a recent loss.  She answered


and stated that her


Sandra Bland was placed in an “aggravated tank.”  This is common jail parlance for a holding area for inmates accused of violent crimes or who may pose a threat to jail staff.  

The Suicide

On the morning of July 13, 2015, around 6:30 am, Waller County jailers stated that Sandra Bland refused to eat breakfast. A short time later a jailer checked on Bland.  She indicated that she was “fine.”  A little later Bland asked, and was granted, permission to use the phone in her jail cell.  The device operated via PIN.  Records indicate that she never placed a call.  At around 9:30 am jailers did their routine checks and discovered Bland hanging by her neck.  Video taken by


camera indicates that no one entered the hallway, not to mention Bland’s cell, from 7:30 am to 9:07 am.  The first jail staffer who entered Bland’s cell was the female deputy who discovered her hanging.

Waller County jailers immediately entered the cell and began emergency CPR in an attempt to revive Sandra Bland.  Another jailer called for paramedics who arrived approximately four (4) minutes later.  

A female inmate in the cell next to Bland spoke with her and sought to console her in the days before her death.  The inmate testified that she believed that Bland was distraught.  The inmate also testified that she did not hear a disturbance or sounds of a struggle coming from Bland’s cell.    

The Reaction

The reaction to the news of Sandra Bland’s death resulted in an explosion of social media activity.  Activists rushed to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.  Their posts, tweets, and comments assumed that Sandra Bland was murdered.  Social media erupted with posts that sought to advance the erroneous notion that Waller County jailers hung Sandra Bland.  They did not.  Some social media posts suggested that Sandra Bland was dead before she arrived at the Waller County jail.  She was not dead. Video released by Waller County authorities shows Bland being processed into the jail. She is clearly NOT dead. She does not appear to be inured.

Demonstrators gathered at the Waller County Jail to protest what they believed was the murder of Sandra Bland.  The Texas Rangers were still investigating the matter.  The official report had not been written. The autopsy of Sandra Bland had not been released.  The Grand Jury had not yet seen the evidence in the case.  Nevertheless, activists immediately seized on the tragic death of Sandra Bland in order to advance the false narrative that her death was the result of “police brutality.”  Notably, members of the New Black Panther Party gathered for at the Waller County jail facility.  The members of the group were heavily armed with a variety of weapons including semi-automatic pistols, shotguns, and semi-automatic rifles.  Rather than honor the life of Sandra Bland the New Black Panther members chose the occasion to insult and attempt to provoke members of law enforcement.

At the height of their “rally’, fewer than a dozen New Black Panther members appeared. [7]

The Anonymous hacktivist group took to the Internet to declare war on law enforcement.  The group claimed to have evidence that Sandra Bland was murdered by Waller County Sheriff’s Department jail staff.  These claims were based on the baseless speculation that Bland was dead when she arrived at the jail. [6]

The Autopsy

The forensic examination conducted by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science concluded that Sandra Bland died as a result of


The autopsy indicated that Bland had between 30 – 40 parallel healing cuts on her left forearm.  During a press conference, First Assistant District Attorney Warren K. Diepraam stated that

“The roughly 30 marks were healing from 2-4 weeks prior to her death,…”

These injuries predated her arrest and detention in Waller County.  These injuries are believed to be self-inflicted.  They appear to indicate prior attempts on the part of Sandra Bland to take her own life. Toxicology reports indicated that Sandra Bland tested positive for THC, the active component of marijuana.  The level of THC in blood was very high at the time of her death.  This is remarkable given that she had been incarcerated for three days.  

The Grand Jury

In December 2015 the Grand Jury investigating the death of Sandra Bland, after hearing testimony and reviewing the evidence, refused to issue an indictment.  The Grand Jury found no criminal wrongdoing in relation to her death.  The Grand Jury reconvened again in January 2016 to examine other aspects of the incident.  The members of the Grand Jury indicted Trooper Encinia for perjury.  In his report, Trooper Ensinia stated that his reason for ordering Sandra Bland from her car was in order “to further conduct a safe traffic investigation”.  The Grand Jury disagreed with this statement.  This charge against Trooper Encinia was later dropped as part of a plea agreement.  

Activists and rumor-mongers insisted that Trooper Encinia had some roll in Sandra Bland’s death.  He did not.  Bland was transported to the Waller County Jail by a female member of the Prairie View A & M Police Department.  This officer was with Sandra Bland throughout most of the intake process.  Reports that Trooper Encinia injured Sandra Bland are not supported by the evidence.  

The Settlement

In September 2016, attorneys for Sandra Bland’s mother reached a Wrongful Death lawsuit in the amount of $1.9 million.

The Summary

Sandra Bland was clinically depressed.   She was suicidal.  She had attempted suicide long before her arrest by Trooper Encinia.  She made


in the Youtube Video during which she apologized to her fans for being absent.  In the video, she spoke openly about her struggle with depression.

Those who knew her missed this outcry.  They missed the warning signs. The miscarriage she suffered was a severe emotional and psychological blow.  Her previous attempts to take her own life were evident.  Sandra Bland’s bond was set at only $5000.  A mere $500 would have secured her release.  Why no member of her family, the friends of her sorority posted the funds is inexplicable. 


[1] Suburban Woman Found Dead in Jail Had Previous Encounters With Police – https://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Suburban-Woman-Found-Dead-in-Jail-Had-Previous-Encounters-With-Police-316025661.html

[2] Autopsy of Sandra Bland Finds Injuries Consistent With Suicide, Prosecutor Says – https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/24/us/autopsy-of-sandra-bland-finds-injuries-consistent-with-suicide-prosecutor-says.html

[3] Jeffery Myers: UNLEASHED – “Killer Cops”: Debunking The Left’s Fake Reality in the Police “Targeting” of African-Americans.

[4] Dispute Over Sandra Bland’s Mental State Follows Death in a Texas Jail – https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/us/sandra-blands-family-says-video-sheds-no-light-on-reason-for-her-arrest.html

[5] Sandra Bland: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know –  https://heavy.com/news/2015/07/sandra-bland-dead-death-killed-waller-county-texas-illinois-woman-dies-jail-police-custody-job-hanging-traffic-stop-assault-police-officer-video-photos-cause-of-death-autopsy-facebook/

[6] Hacking group claims to have proof of Sandra Bland’s murder – https://www.komando.com/happening-now/318110/hacking-group-claims-to-have-proof-of-sandra-blands-murder

[7] ‘Oink, oink.. bang, bang’: Dozens of heavily-armed New Black Panther activists threaten Texas police while protesting the death of Sandra Bland – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3196720/Oink-oink-bang-bang-Dozens-heavily-armed-New-Black-Panther-activists-threaten-Texas-police-protesting-death-Sandra-Bland.html

[8] Missed warning signs in Sandra Bland’s death – https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/missed-warning-signs-sandra-blands-death

[9] Sandra Bland recorded her own arrest. Watch her cellphone video from the 2015 traffic stop – https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/investigations/sandra-bland-recorded-her-own-arrest-watch-her-cellphone-video-from-the-2015-traffic-stop/287-44ff2f5b-f481-48c3-a5ca-fad15296d979

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